The stage is set with several storage boxes clearly labelled around the stage relating to phases of his entire life, books are lying about and a few small bits of furniture, blackboard and to the rear of the stage a large image of Proust under which is a threadmill?
The show begins with Bush frantically running on the treadmill, before stopping to address the audience. For any one person show regardless how good the script I believe it needs engagement and energy to keep the audience’s attention, this show had that in bucket loads.
Bush brings you on a journey with ‘Souvenir’ travelling at 100 miles per hour between the past, present and the surreal exploring Proust’s views on memory and life by combining the art forms of music, language and magic to enable the audience to absorb and interpret what Proust meant when he said “Better to dream your life than to live it” He suggested that people are not always completely in the present but tend to linger in a lost past.
Bush cleverly uses a piece of madeleine cake from one of his boxes, he eats to stimulate his memory recall of his childhood and young adulthood which upon eating it: he collapse onto the floor which has somehow transports him to that time where he can recall or possible invent memories with amazing clarity. There are many great moments recalled including his love for his mother all relived on stage in both a serious and yet comical way. The fact that we are dealing with issues from the 19th century ‘Souvenir’ is suspended somewhere between here and then and the dialogue cleverly uses modern day devices and props to connect both worlds. There is a very funny moment which Bush goes to great lengths to describe his relationship with this women and a visit to a night club which is excellently executed with dance, lighting and sound. Another good scene which describes the breakup including a trick with a goldfish that worked really well.
I guess the one thing the show has is the high level of energy Bush exudes, he never pauses from start to finish and engages effectively and at ease with the audience on several occasions. The script is funny and clever, the set, sound lighting and direction were all excellent. The reaction from the audience last night was amazing. ‘Souvenir’ has been the best new theatre show I have seen recently even outside the Fringe, I loved everything about it if it’s not already sold out get and see it, and if it is it really deserves a longer run in the future.
Bush Moukarzel is also working on the BBC series Foyle’s War currently been shot in the South Circular Road area.
Written and performed by Bush Moukarzel
Directed by Ben Kidd
Dates September 18 -22
Location: The New Theatre
Times 18.00 each day (Matinee September 22 at 15.30)
Duration 60 minutes
Cost €13 €11 concession
© Tom Dowling image by Tom Dowling